15 CFHS upperclassmen suspended for Hell Week activities

By Katie Corker 2004

At the start of the homecoming week, 15 students, including members of the homecoming court and a star on the football team were suspended last week for involvement with vandalism that occurred at the high school.

Last Sunday, an unknown number of vandals struck Cedar Falls High School with spray paint, syrup, hay and walnuts.

Shortly after, the school’s administration was vigorously involved in an investigation of the vandals.

Some of the students involved in the incident estimated that about 30 students were involved in the vandalism.

In the process of investigating the act, the administration interviewed more than 25 students. The interviews brought about roughly 15 suspensions.

Principal Dean Dreyer said, “We have good, young people who got carried away, and it just turned into a bad situation.”

Punishments for all students included a multiple-day suspension from school including the remainder of homecoming week and all activities associated with homecoming.

One of those suspended was Student Body President Pet McElligott. In addition to the other punishments, he was removed from the homecoming court and from a portion of his role in the upcoming fall play.

McElligott said, “I feel bad that I went out at all that night, but I think the administrators’ punishments were too harsh.”

Many have questioned the discrepancy in punishments, but the difference can be attributed to the district’s Good Conduct Policy.

“Some people have forgotten the Good Conduct Policy connected to those involved with activities. this does not hit everyone equitably. High profile students involved in many activities take a bigger hit … but the responsibility is greater,” Dreyer said. “We had lots of cooperation from students who understood the reputation of the school and students were being damaged. We took a lot of time so people weren’t being unduly sanctioned.”

Although over a dozen students were suspended, more were involved that have not been implicated, and this has brought up the question of why those who confessed should suffer the consequences for their actions.

Dreyer said, “I have a lot of respect for the kids that were honest, but that doesn’t make it right. We spent a lot of time giving due process to kids whose names were mentioned. Our job is to piece together who was involved through statements given.”

Sreyer said that this incident is one of the biggest number of suspensions he can recall at Cedar Falls High School. “Some time ago, there were about 25 students engaging in activities before commencement, but the damages this time were nowhere close to that.”

At this time, no criminal charges have been pressed against any individuals involved. Dreyer said, “We try to stay away from pressing charges; sanctions are being handled here at school.”

The district has also not yet decided about the costs involved for cleaning up the incident. Dreyer said, “No fines right now, but we’ll talk to the janitors about work involved and talk to the sandblasting company about charges.”

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